Birmingham, Ala. -Late on the road as the fourth quarter began on Saturday afternoon and with the quarterback missing the game due to injury, Houston Gamblers He finally saw an opportunity to go deep on defense USFL hero Birmingham Stallion. Backup QB Terry Wilson This opportunity was not lost.
Wilson, who had thrown for 48 yards in the first three quarters, covered that on one assist, going 50 yards down the middle of that receiver. Anthony Ratliff Williams He got the green light on the way to the key 27-20 win over the stallions.
“I saw Anthony run out there, I trusted his speed, and I let it float,” Wilson said, thus starting the first NFL in two seasons. Kanji spice He couldn’t go due to an ankle injury.
Wilson put the Gamblers in front and back Mark Thompson He helped put the game away, rushing for two of the three touchdowns in the final four minutes. That gives him eight touchdowns in three games this season, and is a big part of the reason Houston won three in a row to tie the Stallions 3-2 for second in the South Division.
“The biggest difference for us was the penalties and turnovers,” Houston coach Curtis Johnson, whose team saw no turnovers or flags, while taking advantage of 10 penalties in Birmingham, said.
Trailing 27-13, Birmingham got a touchdown with 10 seconds left in the game, leaving them with a unique USFL choice: take the traditional onside kick or try an indeterminate play on fourth and 12th from the 33rd. They opted for an offensive play but couldn’t convert, Which allows Houston to run out the clock.
Wilson’s road to Birmingham was a long one. He began his university life in Oregonbounced from junior college to Kentuckystarting 25 games before ending one season in the New Mexico in 2021. On Saturday, he played flawless football, throwing for 117 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 42 yards.
“I started off with a great week of training,” said Wilson. “We knew it was going to be hot, so we just wanted to be ready for anything. We knew we were going to play hard and it was going to be a fight. I feel like we brought it up and we got the W.”
With Thompson sidelined with an injury, Houston opened the year 0-2, but the Gamblers won three straight with their healthy start. He rushed for 80 yards and a game-high three scores on Saturday, and those two late goals were crucial.
Birmingham head coach Skip Holtz has seen his team go 14-3 during his two NFL seasons, two of the three losses against Houston. One sequence summed up Saturday’s struggles well—needing a touchdown to tie the game in the fourth quarter, the Stallions converted on fourth-and-four, only to see it nullified by a penalty. Then they turned again on the 4th and 14th, only to see the umpire catch overturned on the review for incompleteness and a spin on the drop.
“A very frustrating day,” said Holtz. “I’m going to give Coach Johnson and Houston a lot of credit… Nobody likes to lose. Nobody likes to lose. We definitely have chances today that we can take advantage of. We made our share of mistakes, and it was a frustrating day in many respects.”
The two teams are now tied 3-2, both behind New Orleans Breakers (4-0) in the South, knowing that only two of those three teams would earn a spot in the playoffs. That sets up a rematch between the two teams in Memphis on June 11 in the second-to-last week of the regular season.
Houston got another break thanks to a unique USFL rule. In the NFLIf a player fumbles through the end zone, it is a rebound for the defending team, but when that happens in the USFL, the ball is put into a fumble with the fumbled team retaining possession. Thompson had a 17-yard rush to the Birmingham 11-yard line and a Stallions defender pushed the ball through the end zone. But the ball returned to the Gamblers, and three plays later, Thompson caught his first touchdown and Houston took a 7-0 lead.
“I didn’t like it that day,” Holtz said of the rule change implemented this season. “Normally, I think it’s a really good rule of thumb.”
Greg Aumann is FOX Sports’ NFC South correspondent, covering the Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, and Saints. He’s in his 10th season covering the Bucs and the NFL full time, after spending time at the Tampa Bay Times and The Athletic. You can follow him on Twitter at @employee.
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